Old Man Winter, Meet Nyco: Preparing Floors for the Wiles of Winter
Winter can be wily and downright unpredictable. While the season’s severity may vary from year to year, it’s almost guaranteed that snow and ice will be in the forecast, adding to the challenges of building maintenance. Colder months can be especially hard on facility floors, requiring extra energy and effort to properly care for them. By having the right supplies, equipment and manpower in place you can keep floors looking their best while ensuring the safety of staff and visitors during the time Old Man Winter is in town. Use this article as a guide to help you in preparing floors for winter.
Roll Out the Welcome Mats
One of the most important steps you can take in the battle against winter weather is having proper indoor and outdoor matting in place. Exterior scraper mats used in connection with interior walk-off mats serve to wick damaging and dangerous moisture from footwear before it makes its way into your building. Mats that extend for 6 – 15 feet inside the entrance will trap 80% of dirt and moisture (Carpet & Rug Institute), allowing floors to look beautiful longer and helping visitors avoid slip and fall accidents. Add extra matting to high traffic areas throughout your building to catch additional soils and make maintenance easier. Remember to clean and vacuum mats often, especially on harsh days, so that they remain effective at trapping salt and moisture.
Now is the time to make sure you have enough ice melt on hand to keep exterior areas safe; once the snow begins to fall, supplies may not be readily available. When using ice melt be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions and use only the amount needed. By not over-applying ice melt you’ll save money on both product as well as cleaning labor by having less chemicals tracked into your building.
Put It In Neutral
While ice melt is a necessity during snow season, these alkaline chemicals can leave an ugly white film on floors. Chemicals like Trax-Buster Ice Melt Film Dissolver will neutralize ice melt residue while conditioning and protecting hard floors. Trax-Buster’s versatile formulation means it can be used with automatic scrubbers, mop and bucket, or extraction machines for carpets. Want to know how neutralizers work? Read this Simple Science explanation.
Don’t Get Soft on Hard Floors
Floors take a beating during winter, but adding a couple of additional protective coats of finish to your hard surface floors now will help prepare them for rough treatment ahead. These added layers provide “wear-off” coats that help prevent wear and tear from ice melt and heavy footwear. Floors will need additional maintenance in winter to keep them safe and looking their best, so stock up on supplies now as some finishes may not be shippable in winter months. Finishes like Reflection 25 and Pro-Ultra 22 with slip-resistance properties are great choices for winter months.
Fall is an ideal time to make sure floor care equipment is ready for action. Floor scrubbers, extractors, burnishers, wet/dry vacuums and air movers should all be inspected for any needed repairs or parts replacement. Once winter strikes, be sure to regularly clean equipment after use so that ice melt does not cause damage. Keep any internal tanks or squeegees clean and dry between uses to prevent bacteria from growing on surfaces.
Back to Basics
A good old-fashioned mop is a great tool for quickly sopping up potentially hazardous wet spots on floors. Keep a dry mop close at hand near locations where puddles are more likely to appear. Extend the life of your wet mops by rinsing and wringing out when not in use. Mop buckets also benefit from a rinse after use; clean with a disinfecting solution if you notice any foul odors.
See the Signs
Prominently placed wet floor signs are a helpful reminder that surfaces may be slippery. Plan to have at least one for each entrance to your facility and display as needed.
Don’t let Old Man Winter impact the productivity or safety of your business, school or facility. Whether this next winter is mild or one for the record books, it pays to be prepared. Advance planning that includes stocking up on chemicals and equipment can give you peace of mind and make your job of preparing floors for winter a whole lot easier.
Preparing Floors for Winter: A Supplies Checklist
- Entrance Mats
- Ice melt
- Ice melt neutralizer (Trax-Buster)
- Floor finish (Reflections 25 or Pro Ultra 22)
- Finish mops
- Wet mops
- Neutral Cleaning Solution (Balance EC)
- Wet Floor Signs